BY Wire Reports
Sunday, June 17, 2012
6/17/12 at 2:36 AM
Athens, Greece: Greek voters go to polls to decide on bailouts
Greece's voters go to polls Sunday for the second time in six weeks in an election that may determine the fate of the euro currency.
With 21 parties on the ballot, the main event pits Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, who has promised to renege on budget cuts demanded by creditors in exchange for bailouts, against New Democracy's Antonis Samaras, who says his challenger is risking an exit from the currency union.
"The first thing we must determine in the elections on June 17 is to choose between the euro or drachma," Samaras said in his final appeal Friday in Athens. The night before, Tsipras told supporters to "turn your backs on the two parties of bankruptcy," urging them to reject the two main parties.
The vote will turn on whether Greeks accept open-ended austerity to stay in the euro or reject the bailout conditions and risk the turmoil of exiting the 17-nation currency. Group of 20 leaders begin the annual gathering in Los Cabos, Mexico, Monday, though France's Francois Hollande and Germany's Angela Merkel won't leave until after the results in Greece.
The election marks a revote after the May 6 ballot failed to yield a government.
Paris: Back-room deals, duels color French elections
Back-room deals, black lists and bitter duels. Political and personal intrigue has wormed its way into Sunday's final round of French legislative elections.
President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party is battling to ensure a solid majority and fulfill his vows to boost growth in Europe and redefine the French presidency as one of the people.
Barring surprises, the Socialists and their allies should win enough seats to control the crucial 577-seat lower house of parliament, after a strong showing in the first round of the balloting a week ago. But to get an absolute majority of 289 seats, guaranteeing a free hand to govern, the party is trying to fend off conservatives who dominated parliament under former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
They're also trying to shame those in the mainstream right who are cutting vote-getting deals with the extreme right, anti-immigrant National Front, which is wrangling for its first real presence in parliament in more than a quarter century.
Peshawar, Pakistan: Bombings kill 33 peoplein Pakistan tribal areas
Two bombs killed 33 people in tribal areas of northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, officials and witnesses said, a reminder of the instability wracking the nuclear-armed country.
The first blast, a car bomb, hit a crowded bazaar in the town of Landi Kotal in the Khyber region near the Afghan border, government administrator Khalid Mumtaz said. It killed 26 people and wounded more than 50 others.
Later, in the district of Kohat, a bomb in a handcart killed seven people.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts, but suspicion fell on Pakistani Taliban insurgents.
Peshawar, Pakistan: Pakistani militant warns off polio vaccine teams
A militant commander in northwest Pakistan warned polio vaccination teams on Saturday to stay away from the territory he controls near the Afghan border, saying he would not allow immunizations until U.S. drone attacks in the country are stopped.
The statement by Hafiz Gul Bahadur is an obstacle to efforts to beat polio in Pakistan, one of only three nations where the virus is endemic.
The threat came in a pamphlet Saturday in the troubled North Waziristan tribal region.
"We don't want benefits from well-wishers who spend billions to save children from polio, which can affect one or two out of hundreds of thousands, while on the other hand the same well-wisher (America) with the help of its slave (Pakistan's government) kills hundreds of innocent tribesmen including old women and children by unleashing numerous drone attacks," it said.
Sanaa, Yemen: Yemeni forces kill 21 al-Qaida fighters
Yemeni troops killed 21 al-Qaida fighters as the army pushed on with an offensive in two southern provinces, military officials said Saturday, while Washington commended the government for successfully routing militants from some of their strongholds.
The fighting in the town of Azan in Shabwa province and in the Hassan valley in neighboring Abyan follows a surprise government assault earlier this week that recaptured the al-Qaida base of Jaar.
The campaign, assisted by U.S. advisers and bankrolled by neighboring Saudi Arabia, has left al-Qaida's dangerous Yemen branch on the run.
Toronto: Stage collapses before Radiohead concert, 1 dies
Toronto paramedics say one person is dead and another is seriously hurt after a stage collapsed while setting up for a Radiohead concert, which was later canceled.
Two other people were injured and were being assessed.
With the Alps in the background, youths jump from a platform into Lac Leman in Lutry, near Lausanne, Switzerland, on Saturday. LAURENT GILLIERON / Keystone / AP